It's been long since we have been waiting for the new project from Andy Rubin, the man behind Android. Today, the speculations have come to rest as Andy Rubin finally unveiled his 'Essential' range of products including an Android smartphone with an edge-to-edge display, a 360-degree camera for a new modular accessory system, and an intelligent home speaker with a big circular screen.
The main talking point for the smart speaker by Essential is that they run on Ambient OS. The company touts that the OS will “activate” your home by learning the physical design of your house, its inhabitants, and the multiple services and devices accessible to them. The Ambient OS is an “API” for various things in combinations, which also allows new apps to coexist on top. For example - flashing lights when an alarm or timer goes off.
The official website offers information about Ambient OS on Essential Home:
Key to Ambient OS is the belief that people should always be in control. To this end, it does not try to make your home smart by anticipating what you need. Instead, as it learns from people, it can suggest certain behaviors but in the end people decide whether or not use them.
As much as Ambient OS comes across as a better version of IFTTT, but it is different regarding applying logic on the smart speaker that would also protect your privacy and data by avoiding the cloud many times. Essential says that the Ambient OS would prefer controlling devices over the local network instead of talking to cloud APIs, along with saving user data locally. However, for some tasks, it will still have to take Cloud APIs help.
Additionally, Ambient OS would never "suggest" users for actions; it will wait for the commands to enable them. The speaker would not force its new learnings on users and anticipate actions for them. For design, Andy Rubin's Essential Home speaker comes with a circular screen that shows pop-up alerts informing users about their pending tasks such as meetings.
For now, we only have a few pictures of the Essential Home device. It is based on the idea of controlling your entire home with smart interactions. Of course, it is not a new idea, but the technology seems to be bigger and better than other platforms like SmartThings or Works With Nest. Other competitors on the horizon are Google Home and Amazon Echo. It would be interesting to see how Essential Home changes the dynamics.
We only have information about Essential Home's software and design. The company is yet to reveal the pricing and launch date for the device. Stay tuned with us for more.